It’s odd to see a week like this so early in the season, but LSU usually tries to have at least one 5-game week in it’s OOC schedule so that the true depth of the roster can be found. This year, that task starts out at UNO.
The first true baseball power in Louisiana, UNO finally reemerged last season from the multi-year hibernation of it’s on again - off again failed move to Division 3. Former LSU 1st baseman (and still NCAA record holder for career sac flies) Blake Dean shocked the college baseball world last season not only by becoming the youngest head coach in the sport, but by turning the damaged Privateer program into an instant winner. UNO started 13-3 last season and even notched an early win against a ranked Tulane squad. They rode that momentum to UNO’s fist 30+ win season in nearly ten years and while it ended all too soon with a quick exit from the Southland Tournament, a strong core group of players has returned on a mission to prove UNO is back in business for good on the Lakefront.
The Privateers (3-0) beat Southern, Illinois-Chicago, and Prairie View A&M as part of the MLB Urban Youth Academy series on opening weekend, with a pair of shutouts against the SWAC schools. Returning 2017 preseason All-SLC picks 3B Dakota Dean (an LSU transfer and Blake's younger brother), OF Hezekiah Randolph and SS Aaron Palmer are swinging well to start the year, but JUCO transfer RF Tristan Clarke had the best weekend, going 6 for 11 at the plate and slugging .818. On the mound, UNO is starting FR RHP Reeves Martin who came in in the 6th against Illinois-Chicago and pitched 3 shutout innings that helped spark UNO’s comeback and gave him the win.
LSU will be starting SO RHP Caleb Gilbert, who had an inning of relief effort in the first game against Army on Saturday. Gilbert will be followed by some of the more experienced relief arms who’ve yet to play thise season like Collin Strall and Russell Reynolds, while FR Zach Hess will be making his first start tomorrow back in Alex Box against Hofstra.
Gametime is 6:30pm and radio is on 100.7fm (or the lsu website and app) as basketball still exists (for some reason). TV is on Cox Sports and streaming on ESPN3 if you are out of the blackout zones below